Published Papers - Abstract 300

Schofield M & Khan A. Australian women who seek counselling: Psychosocial, health behaviour and demographic profile. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 2008; 8(1): 2019-12-20

Despite high rates of psychological distress in the Australian community, particularly among middle-aged women, use of counselling and psychological services is relatively low. This study examined self-reported use of counselling in the past year among a population-based sample of 11,201 Australian women aged 50-55, and describes the profile of women who seek counselling. Using multivariate analyses to control confounding, women who had consulted a Counsellor/Psychologist/Social Worker in the last year (6.9%) were found to have an increased odds of higher stress, life satisfaction and perceived control, and lower optimism. They also had higher odds of experiencing more life events over the past 12 months, changed health status compared with a year ago, taking more prescribed medications, living in urban versus rural areas, having university vs no formal education, living alone or with others rather than spouse/partner, and have ancillary versus full private health insurance. This multivariate profile is discussed in relation to the delivery, marketing and accessibility of counselling services in the Australian community. The implications for counsellor training and the future development of the profession are also discussed.